ich bin auf einen Zeitungsartikel gestoßen.
Er ist (leider) in englisch und (sehr,sehr) groß.
Mary A. Fisher hat alle Fakten zu dem angeblichen Missbrauch zusammengetragen und 1994 erschien im GQ Magazin der umfangreiche Artikel.
Was ich daran so interessant finde? Das sich nicht nur Aphrodite Jones mit dem Thema beschäftigt hat. Denn fast alle Zeitungen waren an den richtigen Fakten doch gar nicht interessiert.
Ich wollte ihn mit Google Translator oder anderen übersetzen lassen, leider finde ich keine Übersetzung passend. Vielleicht können wir es ja zusammen im Forum übersetzen?
Das wäre doch eine Möglichkeit...
Was Michael Jackson Framed?
The Untold Story
Mary A. Fisher
GQ, October 1994
The untold story of the events that brought down a superstar. Before
O.J. Simpson, there was Michael Jackson -- another beloved black
celebrity seemingly brought down by allegations of scandal in his
personal life. Those allegations -- that Jackson had molested a
13-year-old boy -- instigated a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, two
grand-jury investigations and a shameless media circus. Jackson, in
turn, filed charges of extortion against some of his accusers.
Ultimately, the suit was settled out of court for a sum that has been
estimated at $20 million; no criminal charges were brought against
Jackson by the police or the grand juries. This past August, Jackson
was in the news again, when Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis's daughter,
announced that she and the singer had married.
As the dust settles on one of the nation's worst episodes of media
excess, one thing is clear: The American public has never heard a
defense of Michael Jackson. Until now.
It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative -- that is, prove
that something didn't happen. But it is possible to take an in-depth
look at the people who made the allegations against Jackson and thus
gain insight into their character and motives. What emerges from such
an examination, based on court documents, business records and scores
of interviews, is a persuasive argument that Jackson molested no one
and that he himself may have been the victim of a well-conceived plan
to extract money from him.
More than that, the story that arises from this previously unexplored
territory is radically different from the tale that has been promoted
by tabloid and even mainstream journalists. It is a story of greed,
ambition, misconceptions on the part of police and prosecutors, a lazy
and sensation-seeking media and the use of a powerful, hypnotic drug.
It may also be a story about how a case was simply invented.
Neither Michael Jackson nor his current defense attorneys agreed to be
interviewed for this article. Had they decided to fight the civil
charges and go to trial, what follows might have served as the core of
Jackson's defense -- as well as the basis to further the extortion
charges against his own accusers, which could well have exonerated the
Jackson's troubles began when his van broke down on Wilshire Boulevard
in Los Angeles in May 1992. Stranded in the middle of the heavily
trafficked street, Jackson was spotted by the wife of Mel Green, an
employee at Rent-a-Wreck, an offbeat car-rental agency a mile away.
Green went to the rescue. When Dave Schwartz, the owner of the
car-rental company, heard Green was bringing Jackson to the lot, he
called his wife, June, and told her to come over with their 6-year-old
daughter and her son from her previous marriage. The boy, then 12, was
a big Jackson fan. Upon arriving, June Chandler Schwartz told Jackson
about the time her son had sent him a drawing after the singer's hair
caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Then she gave
Jackson their home number.
"It was almost like she was forcing [the boy] on him," Green recalls.
"I think Michael thought he owed the boy something, and that's when it
Certain facts about the relationship are not in dispute. Jackson began
calling the boy, and a friendship developed. After Jackson returned
from a promotional tour, three months later, June Chandler Schwartz
and her son and daughter became regular guests at Neverland, Jackson's
ranch in Santa Barbara County. During the following year, Jackson
showered the boy and his family with attention and gifts, including
video games, watches, an after-hours shopping spree at Toys "R" Us and
trips around the world -- from Las Vegas and Disney World to Monaco
By March 1993, Jackson and the boy were together frequently and the
sleepovers began. June Chandler Schwartz had also become close to
Jackson "and liked him enormously," one friend says. "He was the
kindest man she had ever met."
Jackson's personal eccentricities -- from his attempts to remake his
face through plastic surgery to his preference for the company of
children -- have been widely reported. And while it may be unusual for
a 35-year-old man to have sleepovers with a 13-year-old child, the
boy's mother and others close to Jackson never thought it odd.
Jackson's behavior is better understood once it's put in the context
of his own childhood.
"Contrary to what you might think, Michael's life hasn't been a walk
in the park," one of his attorneys says. Jackson's childhood
essentially stopped -- and his unorthodox life began -- when he was 5
years old and living in Gary, Indiana. Michael spent his youth in
rehearsal studios, on stages performing before millions of strangers
and sleeping in an endless string of hotel rooms. Except for his eight
brothers and sisters, Jackson was surrounded by adults who pushed him
relentlessly, particularly his father, Joe Jackson -- a strict,
unaffectionate man who reportedly beat his children.
Jackson's early experiences translated into a kind of arrested
development, many say, and he became a child in a man's body. "He
never had a childhood," says Bert Fields, a former attorney of
Jackson's. "He is having one now. His buddies are 12-year-old kids.
They have pillow fights and food fights." Jackson's interest in
children also translated into humanitarian efforts. Over the years, he
has given millions to causes benefiting children, including his own
Heal The World Foundation.
But there is another context -- the one having to do with the times in
which we live -- in which most observers would evaluate Jackson's
behavior. "Given the current confusion and hysteria over child sexual
abuse," says Dr. Phillip Resnick, a noted Cleveland psychiatrist, "any
physical or nurturing contact with a child may be seen as suspicious,
and the adult could well be accused of sexual misconduct."
Jackson's involvement with the boy was welcomed, at first, by all the
adults in the youth's life -- his mother, his stepfather and even his
biological father, Evan Chandler (who also declined to be interviewed
for this article). Born Evan Robert Charmatz in the Bronx in 1944,
Chandler had reluctantly followed in the footsteps of his father and
brothers and become a dentist. "He hated being a dentist," a family
friend says. "He always wanted to be a writer." After moving in 1973
to West Palm Beach to practice dentistry, he changed his last name,
believing Charmatz was "too Jewish-sounding," says a former colleague.
Hoping somehow to become a screenwriter, Chandler moved to Los Angeles
in the late Seventies with his wife, June Wong, an attractive Eurasian
who had worked briefly as a model.
Chandler's dental career had its precarious moments. In December 1978,
while working at the Crenshaw Family Dental Center, a clinic in a
low-income area of L.A., Chandler did restoration work on sixteen of a
patient's teeth during a single visit. An examination of the work, the
Board of Dental Examiners concluded, revealed "gross ignorance and/or
inefficiency" in his profession. The board revoked his license;
however, the revocation was stayed, and the board instead suspended
him for ninety days and placed him on probation for two and a half
years. Devastated, Chandler left town for New York. He wrote a film
script but couldn't sell it.
Months later, Chandler returned to L.A. with his wife and held a
series of dentistry jobs. By 1980, when their son was born, the
couple's marriage was in trouble. "One of the reasons June left Evan
was because of his temper," a family friend says. They divorced in
1985. The court awarded sole custody of the boy to his mother and
ordered Chandler to pay $500 a month in child support, but a review of
documents reveals that in 1993, when the Jackson scandal broke,
Chandler owed his ex-wife $68,000 -- a debt she ultimately forgave.
A year before Jackson came into his son's life, Chandler had a second
serious professional problem. One of his patients, a model, sued him
for dental negligence after he did restoration work on some of her
teeth. Chandler claimed that the woman had signed a consent form in
which she'd acknowledged the risks involved. But when Edwin Zinman,
her attorney, asked to see the original records, Chandler said they
had been stolen from the trunk of his Jaguar. He provided a duplicate
set. Zinman, suspicious, was unable to verify the authenticity of the
records. "What an extraordinary coincidence that they were stolen,"
Zinman says now. "That's like saying 'The dog ate my homework.' " The
suit was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Despite such setbacks, Chandler by then had a successful practice in
Beverly Hills. And he got his first break in Hollywood in 1992, when
he cowrote the Mel Brooks film Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Until
Michael Jackson entered his son's life, Chandler hadn't shown all that
much interest in the boy. "He kept promising to buy him a computer so
they could work on scripts together, but he never did," says Michael
Freeman, formerly an attorney for June Chandler Schwartz. Chandler's
dental practice kept him busy, and he had started a new family by
then, with two small children by his second wife, a corporate
At first, Chandler welcomed and encouraged his son's relationship with
Michael Jackson, bragging about it to friends and associates. When
Jackson and the boy stayed with Chandler during May 1993, Chandler
urged the entertainer to spend more time with his son at his house.
According to sources, Chandler even suggested that Jackson build an
addition onto the house so the singer could stay there. After calling
the zoning department and discovering it couldn't be done, Chandler
made another suggestion -- that Jackson just build him a new home.
That same month, the boy, his mother and Jackson flew to Monaco for
the World Music Awards. "Evan began to get jealous of the involvement
and felt left out," Freeman says. Upon their return, Jackson and the
boy again stayed with Chandler, which pleased him -- a five-day visit,
during which they slept in a room with the youth's half brother.
Though Chandler has admitted that Jackson and the boy always had their
clothes on whenever he saw them in bed together, he claimed that it
was during this time that his suspicions of sexual misconduct were
triggered. At no time has Chandler claimed to have witnessed any
sexual misconduct on Jackson's part.
Chandler became increasingly volatile, making threats that alienated
Jackson, Dave Schwartz and June Chandler Schwartz. In early July 1993,
Dave Schwartz, who had been friendly with Chandler, secretly
tape-recorded a lengthy telephone conversation he had with him. During
the conversation, Chandler talked of his concern for his son and his
anger at Jackson and at his ex-wife, whom he described as "cold and
heartless." When Chandler tried to "get her attention" to discuss his
suspicions about Jackson, he says on the tape, she told him "Go fuck
"I had a good communication with Michael," Chandler told Schwartz. "We
were friends. I liked him and I respected him and everything else for
what he is. There was no reason why he had to stop calling me. I sat
in the room one day and talked to Michael and told him exactly what I
want out of this whole relationship. What I want."
Admitting to Schwartz that he had "been rehearsed" about what to say
and what not to say, Chandler never mentioned money during their
conversation. When Schwartz asked what Jackson had done that made
Chandler so upset, Chandler alleged only that "he broke up the family.
[The boy] has been seduced by this guy's power and money." Both men
repeatedly berated themselves as poor fathers to the boy.
Elsewhere on the tape, Chandler indicated he was prepared to move
against Jackson: "It's already set," Chandler told Schwartz. "There
are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are
in certain positions. I've paid them to do it. Everything's going
according to a certain plan that isn't just mine. Once I make that
phone call, this guy [his attorney, Barry K. Rothman, presumably] is
going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way
that he can do it. And I've given him full authority to do that."
Chandler then predicted what would, in fact, transpire six weeks
later: "And if I go through with this, I win big-time. There's no way
I lose. I've checked that inside out. I will get everything I want,
and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose [custody of the
son]...and Michael's career will be over."
"Does that help [the boy]?" Schwartz asked.
"That's irrelevant to me," Chandler replied. "It's going to be bigger
than all of us put together. The whole thing is going to crash down on
everybody and destroy everybody in sight. It will be a massacre if I
don't get what I want."
Instead of going to the police, seemingly the most appropriate action
in a situation involving suspected child molestation, Chandler had
turned to a lawyer. And not just any lawyer. He'd turned to Barry
"This attorney I found, I picked the nastiest son of a bitch I could
find," Chandler said in the recorded conversation with Schwartz. "All
he wants to do is get this out in the public as fast as he can, as big
as he can, and humiliate as many people as he can. He's nasty, he's
mean, he's very smart, and he's hungry for the publicity." (Through
his attorney, Wylie Aitken, Rothman declined to be interviewed for
this article. Aitken agreed to answer general questions limited to the
Jackson case, and then only about aspects that did not involve
Chandler or the boy.)
To know Rothman, says a former colleague who worked with him during
the Jackson case, and who kept a diary of what Rothman and Chandler
said and did in Rothman's office, is to believe that Barry could have
"devised this whole plan, period. This [making allegations against
Michael Jackson] is within the boundary of his character, to do
something like this." Information supplied by Rothman's former
clients, associates and employees reveals a pattern of manipulation
Rothman has a general-law practice in Century City. At one time, he
negotiated music and concert deals for Little Richard, the Rolling
Stones, the Who, ELO and Ozzy Osbourne. Gold and platinum records
commemorating those days still hang on the walls of his office. With
his grayish-white beard and perpetual tan -- which he maintains in a
tanning bed at his house -- Rothman reminds a former client of "a
leprechaun." To a former employee, Rothman is "a demon" with "a
terrible temper." His most cherished possession, acquaintances say, is
his 1977 Rolls-Royce Corniche, which carries the license plate "BKR
Over the years, Rothman has made so many enemies that his ex-wife once
expressed, to her attorney, surprise that someone "hadn't done him
in." He has a reputation for stiffing people. "He appears to be a
professional deadbeat... He pays almost no one," investigator Ed
Marcus concluded (in a report filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, as
part of a lawsuit against Rothman), after reviewing the attorney's
credit profile, which listed more than thirty creditors and judgment
holders who were chasing him. In addition, more than twenty civil
lawsuits involving Rothman have been filed in Superior Court, several
complaints have been made to the Labor Commission and disciplinary
actions for three incidents have been taken against him by the state
bar of California. In 1992, he was suspended for a year, though that
suspension was stayed and he was instead placed on probation for the
In 1987, Rothman was $16,800 behind in alimony and child-support
payments. Through her attorney, his ex-wife, Joanne Ward, threatened
to attach Rothman's assets, but he agreed to make good on the debt. A
year later, after Rothman still hadn't made the payments, Ward's
attorney tried to put a lien on Rothman's expensive Sherman Oaks home.
To their surprise, Rothman said he no longer owned the house; three
years earlier, he'd deeded the property to Tinoa Operations, Inc., a
Panamanian shell corporation. According to Ward's lawyer, Rothman
claimed that he'd had $200,000 of Tinoa's money, in cash, at his house
one night when he was robbed at gunpoint. The only way he could make
good on the loss was to deed his home to Tinoa, he told them. Ward and
her attorney suspected the whole scenario was a ruse, but they could
never prove it. It was only after sheriff's deputies had towed away
Rothman's Rolls Royce that he began paying what he owed.
Documents filed with Los Angeles Superior Court seem to confirm the
suspicions of Ward and her attorney. These show that Rothman created
an elaborate network of foreign bank accounts and shell companies,
seemingly to conceal some of his assets -- in particular, his home and
much of the $531,000 proceeds from its eventual sale, in 1989. The
companies, including Tinoa, can be traced to Rothman. He bought a
Panamanian shelf company (an existing but nonoperating firm) and
arranged matters so that though his name would not appear on the list
of its officers, he would have unconditional power of attorney, in
effect leaving him in control of moving money in and out.
Meanwhile, Rothman's employees didn't fare much better than his
ex-wife. Former employees say they sometimes had to beg for their
paychecks. And sometimes the checks that they did get would bounce. He
couldn't keep legal secretaries. "He'd demean and humiliate them,"
says one. Temporary workers fared the worst. "He would work them for
two weeks," adds the legal secretary, "then run them off by yelling at
them and saying they were stupid. Then he'd tell the agency he was
dissatisfied with the temp and wouldn't pay." Some agencies finally
got wise and made Rothman pay cash up front before they'd do business
The state bar's 1992 disciplining of Rothman grew out of a
conflict-of-interest matter. A year earlier, Rothman had been kicked
off a case by a client, Muriel Metcalf, whom he'd been representing in
child-support and custody proceedings; Metcalf later accused him of
padding her bill. Four months after Metcalf fired him, Rothman,
without notifying her, began representing the company of her estranged
companion, Bob Brutzman.
The case is revealing for another reason: It shows that Rothman had
some experience dealing with child-molestation allegations before the
Jackson scandal. Metcalf, while Rothman was still representing her,
had accused Brutzman of molesting their child (which Brutzman denied).
Rothman's knowledge of Metcalf's charges didn't prevent him from going
to work for Brutzman's company -- a move for which he was disciplined.
By 1992, Rothman was running from numerous creditors. Folb Management,
a corporate real-estate agency, was one. Rothman owed the company
$53,000 in back rent and interest for an office on Sunset Boulevard.
Folb sued. Rothman then countersued, claiming that the building's
security was so inadequate that burglars were able to steal more than
$6,900 worth of equipment from his office one night. In the course of
the proceedings, Folb's lawyer told the court, "Mr. Rothman is not the
kind of person whose word can be taken at face value."
In November 1992, Rothman had his law firm file for bankruptcy,
listing thirteen creditors -- including Folb Management -- with debts
totaling $880,000 and no acknowledged assets. After reviewing the
bankruptcy papers, an ex-client whom Rothman was suing for $400,000 in
legal fees noticed that Rothman had failed to list a $133,000 asset.
The former client threatened to expose Rothman for "defrauding his
creditors" -- a felony -- if he didn't drop the lawsuit. Cornered,
Rothman had the suit dismissed in a matter of hours.
Six months before filing for bankruptcy, Rothman had transferred title
on his Rolls-Royce to Majo, a fictitious company he controlled. Three
years earlier, Rothman had claimed a different corporate owner for the
car -- Longridge Estates, a subsidiary of Tinoa Operations, the
company that held the deed to his home. On corporation papers filed by
Rothman, the addresses listed for Longridge and Tinoa were the same,
1554 Cahuenga Boulevard -- which, as it turns out, is that of a
Chinese restaurant in Hollywood.
It was with this man, in June 1993, that Evan Chandler began carrying
out the "certain plan" to which he referred in his taped conversation
with Dave Schwartz. At a graduation that month, Chandler confronted
his ex-wife with his suspicions. "She thought the whole thing was
baloney," says her ex-attorney, Michael Freeman. She told Chandler
that she planned to take their son out of school in the fall so they
could accompany Jackson on his "Dangerous" world tour. Chandler became
irate and, say several sources, threatened to go public with the
evidence he claimed he had on Jackson. "What parent in his right mind
would want to drag his child into the public spotlight?" asks Freeman.
"If something like this actually occurred, you'd want to protect your
Jackson asked his then-lawyer, Bert Fields, to intervene. One of the
most prominent attorneys in the entertainment industry, Fields has
been representing Jackson since 1990 and had negotiated for him, with
Sony, the biggest music deal ever -- with possible earnings of $700
million. Fields brought in investigator Anthony Pellicano to help sort
things out. Pellicano does things Sicilian-style, being fiercely loyal
to those he likes but a ruthless hardball player when it comes to his
On July 9, 1993, Dave Schwartz and June Chandler Schwartz played the
taped conversation for Pellicano. "After listening to the tape for ten
minutes, I knew it was about extortion," says Pellicano. That same
day, he drove to Jackson's Century City condominium, where Chandler's
son and the boy's half-sister were visiting. Without Jackson there,
Pellicano "made eye contact" with the boy and asked him, he says,
"very pointed questions": "Has Michael ever touched you? Have you ever
seen him naked in bed?" The answer to all the questions was no. The
boy repeatedly denied that anything bad had happened. On July 11,
after Jackson had declined to meet with Chandler, the boy's father and
Rothman went ahead with another part of the plan -- they needed to get
custody of the boy. Chandler asked his ex-wife to let the youth stay
with him for a "one-week visitation period." As Bert Fields later said
in an affidavit to the court, June Chandler Schwartz allowed the boy
to go based on Rothman's assurance to Fields that her son would come
back to her after the specified time, never guessing that Rothman's
word would be worthless and that Chandler would not return their son.
Wylie Aitken, Rothman's attorney, claims that "at the time [Rothman]
gave his word, it was his intention to have the boy returned."
However, once "he learned that the boy would be whisked out of the
country [to go on tour with Jackson], I don't think Mr. Rothman had
any other choice." But the chronology clearly indicates that Chandler
had learned in June, at the graduation, that the boy's mother planned
to take her son on the tour. The taped telephone conversation made in
early July, before Chandler took custody of his son, also seems to
verify that Chandler and Rothman had no intention of abiding by the
visitation agreement. "They [the boy and his mother] don't know it
yet," Chandler told Schwartz, "but they aren't going anywhere."
On July 12, one day after Chandler took control of his son, he had his
ex-wife sign a document prepared by Rothman that prevented her from
taking the youth out of Los Angeles County. This meant the boy would
be unable to accompany Jackson on the tour. His mother told the court
she signed the document under duress. Chandler, she said in an
affidavit, had threatened that "I would not have [the boy] returned to
me." A bitter custody battle ensued, making even murkier any charges
Chandler made about wrong-doing on Jackson's part. (As of this August
, the boy was still living with Chandler.) It was during the
first few weeks after Chandler took control of his son -- who was now
isolated from his friends, mother and stepfather -- that the boy's
allegations began to take shape.
At the same time, Rothman, seeking an expert's opinion to help
establish the allegations against Jackson, called Dr. Mathis Abrams, a
Beverly Hills psychiatrist. Over the telephone, Rothman presented
Abrams with a hypothetical situation. In reply and without having met
either Chandler or his son, Abrams on July 15 sent Rothman a two-page
letter in which he stated that "reasonable suspicion would exist that
sexual abuse may have occurred." Importantly, he also stated that if
this were a real and not a hypothetical case, he would be required by
law to report the matter to the Los Angeles County Department of
Children's Services (DCS).
According to a July 27 entry in the diary kept by Rothman's former
colleague, it's clear that Rothman was guiding Chandler in the plan.
"Rothman wrote letter to Chandler advising him how to report child
abuse without liability to parent," the entry reads.
At this point, there still had been made no demands or formal
accusations, only veiled assertions that had become intertwined with a
fierce custody battle. On August 4, 1993, however, things became very
clear. Chandler and his son met with Jackson and Pellicano in a suite
at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. On seeing Jackson, says Pellicano,
Chandler gave the singer an affectionate hug (a gesture, some say,
that would seem to belie the dentist's suspicions that Jackson had
molested his son), then reached into his pocket, pulled out Abrams's
letter and began reading passages from it. When Chandler got to the
parts about child molestation, the boy, says Pellicano, put his head
down and then looked up at Jackson with a surprised expression, as if
to say "I didn't say that." As the meeting broke up, Chandler pointed
his finger at Jackson, says Pellicano, and warned "I'm going to ruin
At a meeting with Pellicano in Rothman's office later that evening,
Chandler and Rothman made their demand - $20 million.
On August 13, there was another meeting in Rothman's office. Pellicano
came back with a counteroffer -- a $350,000 screenwriting deal.
Pellicano says he made the offer as a way to resolve the custody
dispute and give Chandler an opportunity to spend more time with his
son by working on a screenplay together. Chandler rejected the offer.
Rothman made a counterdemand -- a deal for three screenplays or
nothing -- which was spurned. In the diary of Rothman's ex-colleague,
an August 24 entry reveals Chandler's disappointment: "I almost had a
$20 million deal," he was overhear telling Rothman.
Before Chandler took control of his son, the only one making
allegations against Jackson was Chandler himself -- the boy had never
accused the singer of any wrongdoing. That changed one day in
Chandler's Beverly Hills dental office.
In the presence of Chandler and Mark Torbiner, a dental
anesthesiologist, the boy was administered the controversial drug
sodium Amytal -- which some mistakenly believe is a truth serum. And
it was after this session that the boy first made his charges against
Jackson. A newsman at KCBS-TV, in L.A., reported on May 3 of this year
that Chandler had used the drug on his son, but the dentist claimed he
did so only to pull his son's tooth and that while under the drug's
influence, the boy came out with allegations. Asked for this article
about his use of the drug on the boy, Torbiner replied: "If I used it,
it was for dental purposes."
Given the facts about sodium Amytal and a recent landmark case that
involved the drug, the boy's allegations, say several medical experts,
must be viewed as unreliable, if not highly questionable.
"It's a psychiatric medication that cannot be relied on to produce
fact," says Dr. Resnick, the Cleveland psychiatrist. "People are very
suggestible under it. People will say things under sodium Amytal that
are blatantly untrue." Sodium Amytal is a barbiturate, an invasive
drug that puts people in a hypnotic state when it's injected
intravenously. Primarily administered for the treatment of amnesia, it
first came into use during World War II, on soldiers traumatized --
some into catatonic states -- by the horrors of war. Scientific
studies done in 1952 debunked the drug as a truth serum and instead
demonstrated its risks: False memories can be easily implanted in
those under its influence. "It is quite possible to implant an idea
through the mere asking of a question," says Resnick. But its effects
are apparently even more insidious: "The idea can become their memory,
and studies have shown that even when you tell them the truth, they
will swear on a stack of Bibles that it happened," says Resnick.
Recently, the reliability of the drug became an issue in a
high-profile trial in Napa County, California. After undergoing
numerous therapy sessions, at least one of which included the use of
sodium Amytal, 20-year-old Holly Ramona accused her father of
molesting her as a child. Gary Ramona vehemently denied the charge and
sued his daughter's therapist and the psychiatrist who had
administered the drug. This past May, jurors sided with Gary Ramona,
believing that the therapist and the psychiatrist may have reinforced
memories that were false. Gary Ramona's was the first successful legal
challenge to the so-called "repressed memory phenomenon" that has
produced thousands of sexual-abuse allegations over the past decade.
As for Chandler's story about using the drug to sedate his son during
a tooth extraction, that too seems dubious, in light of the drug's
customary use. "It's absolutely a psychiatric drug," says Dr. Kenneth
Gottlieb, a San Francisco psychiatrist who has administered sodium
Amytal to amnesia patients. Dr. John Yagiela, the coordinator of the
anesthesia and pain control department of UCLA's school of dentistry,
adds, "It's unusual for it to be used [for pulling a tooth]. It makes
no sense when better, safer alternatives are available. It would not
be my choice."
Because of sodium Amytal's potential side effects, some doctors will
administer it only in a hospital. "I would never want to use a drug
that tampers with a person's unconscious unless there was no other
drug available," says Gottlieb. "And I would not use it without
resuscitating equipment, in case of allergic reaction, and only with
an M.D. anesthesiologist present."
Chandler, it seems, did not follow these guidelines. He had the
procedure performed on his son in his office, and he relied on the
dental anesthesiologist Mark Torbiner for expertise. (It was Torbiner
who'd introduced Chandler and Rothman in 1991, when Rothman needed
The nature of Torbiner's practice appears to have made it highly
successful. "He boasts that he has $100 a month overhead and $40,000 a
month income," says Nylla Jones, a former patient of his. Torbiner
doesn't have an office for seeing patients; rather, he travels to
various dental offices around the city, where he administers
anesthesia during procedures.
This magazine has learned that the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration is probing another aspect of Torbiner's business
practices: He makes housecalls to administer drugs -- mostly morphine
and Demerol -- not only postoperatively to his dental patients but
also, it seems, to those suffering pain whose source has nothing to do
with dental work. He arrives at the homes of his clients -- some of
them celebrities -- carrying a kind of fishing-tackle box that
contains drugs and syringes. At one time, the license plate on his
Jaguar read "SLPYDOC." According to Jones, Torbiner charges $350 for a
basic ten-to-twenty-minute visit. In what Jones describes as standard
practice, when it's unclear how long Torbiner will need to stay, the
client, anticipating the stupor that will soon set in, leaves a blank
check for Torbiner to fill in with the appropriate amount.
Torbiner wasn't always successful. In 1989, he got caught in a lie and
was asked to resign from UCLA, where he was an assistant professor at
the school of dentistry. Torbiner had asked to take a half-day off so
he could observe a religious holiday but was later found to have
worked at a dental office instead.
A check of Torbiner's credentials with the Board of Dental Examiners
indicates that he is restricted by law to administering drugs solely
for dental-related procedures. But there is clear evidence that he has
not abided by those restrictions. In fact, on at least eight
occasions, Torbiner has given a general anesthetic to Barry Rothman,
during hair-transplant procedures. Though normally a local anesthetic
would be injected into the scalp, "Barry is so afraid of the pain,"
says Dr. James De Yarman, the San Diego physician who performed
Rothman's transplants, "that [he] wanted to be put out completely." De
Yarman said he was "amazed" to learn that Torbiner is a dentist,
having assumed all along that he was an M.D.
In another instance, Torbiner came to the home of Nylla Jones, she
says, and injected her with Demerol to help dull the pain that
followed her appendectomy.
On August 16, three days after Chandler and Rothman rejected the
$350,000 script deal, the situation came to a head. On behalf of June
Chandler Schwartz, Michael Freeman notified Rothman that he would be
filing papers early the next morning that would force Chandler to turn
over the boy. Reacting quickly, Chandler took his son to Mathis
Abrams, the psychiatrist who'd provided Rothman with his assessment of
the hypothetical child-abuse situation. During a three-hour session,
the boy alleged that Jackson had engaged in a sexual relationship with
him. He talked of masturbation, kissing, fondling of nipples and oral
sex. There was, however, no mention of actual penetration, which might
have been verified by a medical exam, thus providing corroborating
The next step was inevitable. Abrams, who is required by law to report
any such accusation to authorities, called a social worker at the
Department of Children's Services, who in turn contacted the police.
The full-scale investigation of Michael Jackson was about to begin.
Five days after Abrams called the authorities, the media got wind of
the investigation. On Sunday morning, August 22, Don Ray, a free-lance
reporter in Burbank, was asleep when his phone rang. The caller, one
of his tipsters, said that warrants had been issued to search
Jackson's ranch and condominium. Ray sold the story to L.A.'s KNBC-TV,
which broke the news at 4 P.M. the following day.
After that, Ray "watched this story go away like a freight train," he
says. Within twenty-four hours, Jackson was the lead story on
seventy-three TV news broadcasts in the Los Angeles area alone and was
on the front page of every British newspaper. The story of Michael
Jackson and the 13-year-old boy became a frenzy of hype and
unsubstantiated rumor, with the line between tabloid and mainstream
media virtually eliminated.
The extent of the allegations against Jackson wasn't known until
August 25. A person inside the DCS illegally leaked a copy of the
abuse report to Diane Dimond of Hard Copy. Within hours, the L.A.
office of a British news service also got the report and began selling
copies to any reporter willing to pay $750. The following day, the
world knew about the graphic details in the leaked report. "While
laying next to each other in bed, Mr. Jackson put his hand under [the
child's] shorts," the social worker had written. From there, the
coverage soon demonstrated that anything about Jackson would be fair
"Competition among news organizations became so fierce," says KNBC
reporter Conan Nolan, that "stories weren't being checked out. It was
very unfortunate." The National Enquirer put twenty reporters and
editors on the story. One team knocked on 500 doors in Brentwood
trying to find Evan Chandler and his son. Using property records, they
finally did, catching up with Chandler in his black Mercedes. "He was
not a happy man. But I was," said Andy O'Brien, a tabloid
Next came the accusers -- Jackson's former employees. First, Stella
and Philippe Lemarque, Jackson' ex-housekeepers, tried to sell their
story to the tabloids with the help of broker Paul Barresi, a former
porn star. They asked for as much as half a million dollars but wound
up selling an interview to The Globe of Britain for $15,000. The
Quindoys, a Filipino couple who had worked at Neverland, followed.
When their asking price was $100,000, they said " 'the hand was
outside the kid's pants,' " Barresi told a producer of Frontline, a
PBS program. "As soon as their price went up to $500,000, the hand
went inside the pants. So come on." The L.A. district attorney's
office eventually concluded that both couples were useless as
Next came the bodyguards. Purporting to take the journalistic high
road, Hard Copy's Diane Dimond told Frontline in early November of
last year that her program was "pristinely clean on this. We paid no
money for this story at all." But two weeks later, as a Hard Copy
contract reveals, the show was negotiating a $100,000 payment to five
former Jackson security guards who were planning to file a $10 million
lawsuit alleging wrongful termination of their jobs.
On December 1, with the deal in place, two of the guards appeared on
the program; they had been fired, Dimond told viewers, because "they
knew too much about Michael Jackson's strange relationship with young
boys." In reality, as their depositions under oath three months later
reveal, it was clear they had never actually seen Jackson do anything
improper with Chandler's son or any other child:
"So you don't know anything about Mr. Jackson and [the boy], do you?"
one of Jackson's attorneys asked former security guard Morris Williams
under oath. "All I know is from the sworn documents that other people
have sworn to."
"But other than what someone else may have said, you have no firsthand
knowledge about Mr. Jackson and [the boy], do you?"
"Have you spoken to a child who has ever told you that Mr. Jackson did
anything improper with the child?"
When asked by Jackson's attorney where he had gotten his impressions,
Williams replied: "Just what I've been hearing in the media and what
I've experienced with my own eyes."
"Okay. That's the point. You experienced nothing with your own eyes,
"That's right, nothing."
(The guards' lawsuit, filed in March 1994, was still pending as this
article went to press.)
[NOTE: The case was thrown out of court in July 1995. Read the details
Next came the maid. On December 15, Hard Copy presented "The Bedroom
Maid's Painful Secret." Blanca Francia told Dimond and other reporters
that she had seen a naked Jackson taking showers and Jacuzzi baths
with young boys. She also told Dimond that she had witnessed her own
son in compromising positions with Jackson -- an allegation that the
grand juries apparently never found credible.
A copy of Francia's sworn testimony reveals that Hard Copy paid her
$20,000, and had Dimond checked out the woman's claims, she would have
found them to be false. Under deposition by a Jackson attorney,
Francia admitted she had never actually see Jackson shower with anyone
nor had she seen him naked with boys in his Jacuzzi. They always had
their swimming trunks on, she acknowledged.
The coverage, says Michael Levine, a Jackson press representative,
"followed a proctologist's view of the world. Hard Copy was loathsome.
The vicious and vile treatment of this man in the media was for
selfish reasons. [Even] if you have never bought a Michael Jackson
record in your life, you should be very concerned. Society is built on
very few pillars. One of them is truth. When you abandon that, it's a
The investigation of Jackson, which by October 1993 would grow to
involve at least twelve detectives from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles
counties, was instigated in part by the perceptions of one
psychiatrist, Mathis Abrams, who had no particular expertise in child
sexual abuse. Abrams, the DCS caseworker's report noted, "feels the
child is telling the truth." In an era of widespread and often false
claims of child molestation, police and prosecutors have come to give
great weight to the testimony of psychiatrists, therapists and social
Police seized Jackson's telephone books during the raid on his
residences in August and questioned close to thirty children and their
families. Some, such as Brett Barnes and Wade Robson, said they had
shared Jackson's bed, but like all the others, they gave the same
response -- Jackson had done nothing wrong. "The evidence was very
good for us," says an attorney who worked on Jackson's defense. "The
other side had nothing but a big mouth."
Despite the scant evidence supporting their belief that Jackson was
guilty, the police stepped up their efforts. Two officers flew to the
Philippines to try to nail down the Quindoys' "hand in the pants"
story, but apparently decided it lacked credibility. The police also
employed aggressive investigative techniques -- including allegedly
telling lies -- to push the children into making accusations against
Jackson. According to several parents who complained to Bert Fields,
officers told them unequivocally that their children had been
molested, even though the children denied to their parents that
anything bad had happened. The police, Fields complained in a letter
to Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams, "have also frightened
youngsters with outrageous lies, such as 'We have nude photos of you.'
There are, of course, no such photos." One officer, Federico Sicard,
told attorney Michael Freeman that he had lied to the children he'd
interviewed and told them that he himself had been molested as a
child, says Freeman. Sicard did not respond to requests for an
interview for this article.
All along, June Chandler Schwartz rejected the charges Chandler was
making against Jackson -- until a meeting with police in late August
1993. Officers Sicard and Rosibel Ferrufino made a statement that
began to change her mind. "[The officers] admitted they only had one
boy," says Freeman, who attended the meeting, "but they said, 'We're
convinced Michael Jackson molested this boy because he fits the
classic profile of a pedophile perfectly.' "
"There's no such thing as a classic profile. They made a completely
foolish and illogical error," says Dr. Ralph Underwager, a Minneapolis
psychiatrist who has treated pedophiles and victims of incest since
1953. Jackson, he believes, "got nailed" because of "misconceptions
like these that have been allowed to parade as fact in an era of
hysteria." In truth, as a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
study shows, many child-abuse allegations -- 48 percent of those filed
in 1990 -- proved to be unfounded.
"It was just a matter of time before someone like Jackson became a
target," says Phillip Resnick. "He's rich, bizarre, hangs around with
kids and there is a fragility to him. The atmosphere is such that an
accusation must mean it happened."
The seeds of settlement were already being sown as the police
investigation continued in both counties through the fall of 1993. And
a behind-the-scenes battle among Jackson's lawyers for control of the
case, which would ultimately alter the course the defense would take,
By then, June Chandler Schwartz and Dave Schwartz had united with Evan
Chandler against Jackson. The boy's mother, say several sources,
feared what Chandler and Rothman might do if she didn't side with
them. She worried that they would try to advance a charge against her
of parental neglect for allowing her son to have sleepovers with
Jackson. Her attorney, Michael Freeman, in turn, resigned in disgust,
saying later that "the whole thing was such a mess. I felt
uncomfortable with Evan. He isn't a genuine person, and I sensed he
wasn't playing things straight."
Over the months, lawyers for both sides were retained, demoted and
ousted as they feuded over the best strategy to take. Rothman ceased
being Chandler's lawyer in late August, when the Jackson camp filed
extortion charges against the two. Both then hired high-priced
criminal defense attorneys to represent them.. (Rothman retained
Robert Shapiro, now O.J. Simpson's chief lawyer.) According to the
diary kept by Rothman's former colleague, on August 26, before the
extortion charges were filed, Chandler was heard to say "It's my ass
that's on the line and in danger of going to prison." The
investigation into the extortion charges was superficial because, says
a source, "the police never took it that seriously. But a whole lot
more could have been done." For example, as they had done with
Jackson, the police could have sought warrants to search the homes and
offices of Rothman and Chandler. And when both men, through their
attorneys, declined to be interviewed by police, a grand jury could
have been convened.
In mid-September, Larry Feldman, a civil attorney who'd served as head
of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association, began representing
Chandler's son and immediately took control of the situation. He filed
a $30 million civil lawsuit against Jackson, which would prove to be
the beginning of the end.
Once news of the suit spread, the wolves began lining up at the door.
According to a member of Jackson's legal team, "Feldman got dozens of
letters from all kinds of people saying they'd been molested by
Jackson. They went through all of them trying to find somebody, and
they found zero."
With the possibility of criminal charges against Jackson now looming,
Bert Fields brought in Howard Weitzman, a well-known criminal-defense
lawyer with a string of high-profile clients -- including John
DeLorean, whose trail he won, and Kim Basinger, whose Boxing Helena
contract dispute he lost. (Also, for a short time this June, Weitzman
was O.J. Simpson's attorney.) Some predicted a problem between the two
lawyers early on. There wasn't room for two strong attorneys used to
running their own show.
From the day Weitzman joined Jackson's defense team, "he was talking
settlement," says Bonnie Ezkenazi, an attorney who worked for the
defense. With Fields and Pellicano still in control of Jackson's
defense, they adopted an aggressive strategy. They believed staunchly
in Jackson's innocence and vowed to fight the charges in court.
Pellicano began gathering evidence to use in the trial, which was
scheduled for March 21, 1994. "They had a very weak case," says
Fields. "We wanted to fight. Michael wanted to fight and go through a
trial. We felt we could win."
Dissension within the Jackson camp accelerated on November 12, after
Jackson's publicist announced at a press conference that the singer
was canceling the remainder of his world tour to go into a
drug-rehabilitation program to treat his addiction to painkillers.
Fields later told reporters that Jackson was "barely able to function
adequately on an intellectual level." Others in Jackson's camp felt it
was a mistake to portray the singer as incompetent. "It was
important," Fields says, "to tell the truth. [Larry] Feldman and the
press took the position that Michael was trying to hide and that it
was all a scam. But it wasn't."
On November 23, the friction peaked. Based on information he says he
got from Weitzman, Fields told a courtroom full of reporters that a
criminal indictment against Jackson seemed imminent. Fields had a
reason for making the statement: He was trying to delay the boy's
civil suit by establishing that there was an impending criminal case
that should be tried first. Outside the courtroom, reporters asked why
Fields had made the announcement, to which Weitzman replied
essentially that Fields "misspoke himself." The comment infuriated
Fields, "because it wasn't true," he says. "It was just an outrage. I
was very upset with Howard." Fields sent a letter of resignation to
Jackson the following week.
"There was this vast group of people all wanting to do a different
thing, and it was like moving through molasses to get a decision,"
says Fields. "It was a nightmare, and I wanted to get the hell out of
it." Pellicano, who had received his share of flak for his aggressive
manner, resigned at the same time.
With Fields and Pellicano gone, Weitzman brought in Johnnie Cochran
Jr., a well-known civil attorney who is now helping defend O.J.
Simpson. And John Branca, whom Fields had replaced as Jackson's
general counsel in 1990, was back on board. In late 1993, as DAs in
both Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties convened grand juries to
assess whether criminal charges should be filed against Jackson, the
defense strategy changed course and talk of settling the civil case
began in earnest, even though his new team also believed in Jackson's
Why would Jackson's side agree to settle out of court, given his
claims of innocence and the questionable evidence against him? His
attorneys apparently decided there were many factors that argued
against taking the case to civil court. Among them was the fact that
Jackson's emotional fragility would be tested by the oppressive media
coverage that would likely plague the singer day after day during a
trial that could last as long as six months. Politics and racial
issues had also seeped into legal proceedings -- particularly in Los
Angeles, which was still recovering from the Rodney King ordeal -- and
the defense feared that a court of law could not be counted on to
deliver justice. Then, too, there was the jury mix to consider. As one
attorney says, "They figured that Hispanics might resent [Jackson] for
his money, blacks might resent him for trying to be white, and whites
would have trouble getting around the molestation issue." In Resnick's
opinion, "The hysteria is so great and the stigma [of child
molestation] is so strong, there is no defense against it."
Jackson's lawyers also worried about what might happen if a criminal
trial followed, particularly in Santa Barbara, which is a largely
white, conservative, middle-to-upper-class community. Any way the
defense looked at it, a civil trial seemed too big a gamble. By
meeting the terms of a civil settlement, sources say, the lawyers
figured they could forestall a criminal trial through a tacit
understanding that Chandler would agree to make his son unavailable to
Others close to the case say the decision to settle also probably had
to do with another factor -- the lawyers' reputations. "Can you
imagine what would happen to an attorney who lost the Michael Jackson
case?" says Anthony Pellicano. "There's no way for all three lawyers
to come out winners unless they settle. The only person who lost is
Michael Jackson." But Jackson, says Branca, "changed his mind about
[taking the case to trial] when he returned to this country. He hadn't
seen the massive coverage and how hostile it was. He just wanted the
whole thing to go away."
On the other side, relationships among members of the boy's family had
become bitter. During a meeting in Larry Feldman's office in late
1993, Chandler, a source says, "completely lost it and beat up Dave
[Schwartz]." Schwartz, having separated from June by this time, was
getting pushed out of making decisions that affected his stepson, and
he resented Chandler for taking the boy and not returning him.
"Dave got mad and told Evan this was all about extortion, anyway, at
which point Evan stood up, walked over and started hitting Dave," a
second source says.
To anyone who lived in Los Angeles in January 1994, there were two
main topics of discussion -- the earthquake and the Jackson
settlement. On January 25, Jackson agreed to pay the boy an
undisclosed sum. The day before, Jackson's attorneys had withdrawn the
extortion charges against Chandler and Rothman.
The actual amount of the settlement has never been revealed, although
speculation has placed the sum around $20 million. One source says
Chandler and June Chandler Schwartz received up to $2 million each,
while attorney Feldman might have gotten up to 25 percent in
contingency fees. The rest of the money is being held in trust for the
boy and will be paid out under the supervision of a court-appointed
"Remember, this case was always about money," Pellicano says, "and
Evan Chandler wound up getting what he wanted." Since Chandler still
has custody of his son, sources contend that logically this means the
father has access to any money his son gets.
By late May 1994, Chandler finally appeared to be out of dentistry.
He'd closed down his Beverly Hills office, citing ongoing harassment
from Jackson supporters. Under the terms of the settlement, Chandler
is apparently prohibited from writing about the affair, but his
brother, Ray Charmatz, was reportedly trying to get a book deal.
In what may turn out to be the never-ending case, this past August,
both Barry Rothman and Dave Schwartz (two principal players left out
of the settlement) filed civil suits against Jackson. Schwartz
maintains that the singer broke up his family. Rothman's lawsuit
claims defamation and slander on the part of Jackson, as well as his
original defense team -- Fields, Pellicano and Weitzman -- for the
allegations of extortion. "The charge of [extortion]," says Rothman
attorney Aitken, "is totally untrue. Mr. Rothman has been held up for
public ridicule, was the subject of a criminal investigation and
suffered loss of income." (Presumably, some of Rothman's lost income
is the hefty fee he would have received had he been able to continue
as Chandler's attorney through the settlement phase.)
As for Michael Jackson, "he is getting on with his life," says
publicist Michael Levine. Now married, Jackson also recently recorded
three new songs for a greatest-hits album and completed a new music
video called "History."
And what became of the massive investigation of Jackson? After
millions of dollars were spent by prosecutors and police departments
in two jurisdictions, and after two grand juries questioned close to
200 witnesses, including 30 children who knew Jackson, not a single
corroborating witness could be found. (In June 1994, still determined
to find even one corroborating witness, three prosecutors and two
police detectives flew to Australia to again question Wade Robson, the
boy who had acknowledged that he'd slept in the same bed with Jackson.
Once again, the boy said that nothing bad had happened.)
The sole allegations leveled against Jackson, then, remain those made
by one youth, and only after the boy had been give a potent hypnotic
drug, leaving him susceptible to the power of suggestion.
"I found the case suspicious," says Dr. Underwager, the Minneapolis
psychiatrist, "precisely because the only evidence came from one boy.
That would be highly unlikely. Actual pedophiles have an average of
240 victims in their lifetime. It's a progressive disorder. They're
Given the slim evidence against Jackson, it seems unlikely he would
have been found guilty had the case gone to trial. But in the court of
public opinion, there are no restrictions. People are free to
speculate as they wish, and Jackson's eccentricity leaves him
vulnerable to the likelihood that the public has assumed the worst
So is it possible that Jackson committed no crime -- that he is what
he has always purported to be, a protector and not a molester of
children? Attorney Michael Freeman thinks so: "It's my feeling that
Jackson did nothing wrong and these people [Chandler and Rothman] saw
an opportunity and programmed it. I believe it was all about money."
To some observers, the Michael Jackson story illustrates the dangerous
power of accusation, against which there is often no defense --
particularly when the accusations involve child sexual abuse. To
others, something else is clear now -- that police and prosecutors
spent millions of dollars to create a case whose foundation never
Mary A Fischer is a GQ senior writer based in Los Angeles. http://aboutmichaeljackson.com/m-news+a ... id-24.html